The fast presidency? Nicolas Sarkozy and the political institutions of the Fifth Republic

Alistair Mark COLE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article situates the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012) within the broader context of a framework for evaluating presidential political leadership in France. The analysis reveals a complex interplay between personal styles and role perceptions of the presidential office. The main argument proposed is that Sarkozy over-invested the presidential office with a personal governing style that was widely deemedby public opinion, as well as elitesto be inappropriate given the role expectations of the French presidency. But the first Sarkozy term also demonstrated how the sixth President of the Fifth Republic worked hard to learn from his predecessors and adapt his behavior in a way broadly deemed appropriate for the office. The article concludes that changing institutional and political contexts and timescales have made it far more difficult for incumbents to combine the key roles that are traditionally ascribed to the French President.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalContemporary French and Francophone Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory

User-Defined Keywords

  • France
  • French President
  • Hyper-President.
  • Leadership
  • Quinquennat
  • Sarkozy


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